Gold Coast Team (QLD)
Meets 7:15-10pm every Friday night at Surfers Paradise on Cavill Avenue.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
I thought it might just be me at the coast today, but as I was walking towards Cavil Avenue after parking my car, Blake beeped at me. I was very glad Blake was able to join me today, as it definitely is better witnessing and preaching having another person with you. As I was waiting for Blake to arrive on the esplanade, I handed some tracts to a large group of young people. They wanted to know what it was about and so I asked them whether they thought they were going to go to Heaven. Most said yes, some jokingly said no. The reason why most of them thought they were going to Heaven was because they considered themselves to be good people. So I let them know of the standard that God will judge them after they die and they admitted that they actually deserve Hell. Some of the group were very concerned about this fact, while others remarked that they love sin too much to even consider stopping it. So I shared the news of the cross with the group and talking about how someone can be forgiven if they repent and trust in the death of Jesus alone for their forgiveness.
At this point, another whole group of young people joined in listening to the conversation taking place as they were obviously friends of the people I was talking to. So I explained the message again to everyone to solidify it in their minds.
Just before I got up to preach, a young guy came up and chatted to me and we starting talking about things of eternity. At first he seemed open to the message, however he at random points would just have outbursts of anger and throw the things he was holding around. Possibly something demonic as when I was preaching he so vehemently opposed the Word of God that he got very angry, but when the Word of God was not being spoken about, he would be fine.
Still before I got up to preach, a young girl came and chatted to me, saying that she got 'saved' at age 7 but left Church at age 13. She was now about 15 and realised that she should return, but admitted she just loves sin so much. So I explained how it is so important to receive the forgiveness that Jesus offers as soon as possible for death could happen at any moment and Hell is a very bad place. Then I explained, "But Jesus died to save you from that only if you repent (hate sin instead of loving it, and thus you'll start turning from it) and trust in Jesus' sacrifice on the cross."
An analogy that I like to use to show that it is foolish to choose sin over salvation is this: "Imagine that you are in a house, and you are doing a very fun activity inside. Then you notice the house is getting warmer and there is smoke around, and so you conclude that the house is on fire. Now what would you do: Just sit there because you are doing something so fun, and then you'll get burnt up and die? Or would you run out the house? Obviously run out of the house. In the same way, that is like your life. For it is as if the flames of Hell are coming closer and closer towards you, for the amount of time you have got left to live is getting shorter and shorter. So would you say: 'I would rather keep on sinning' and then you will receive an eternity in Hell? Or would you flee from the flames of Hell by trusting in the death of Jesus, and you will also receive an eternity in Heaven? Which is the better the option?"
I then got up to preach and there was a bunch of hecklers who I was able to engage in a discussion with to draw a larger crowd. These guys were mostly atheistic and some were possibly drunk, but it drew in a rather large crowd to hear the gospel message being preached for 45 minutes.
After having a bite to eat, Blake got up to preach and he preached a brilliant sermon. He started off by getting everyone's attention by telling them there is something they need to hear that is urgent. He preached for 45 minutes and the group of young people that I chatted to at the start of the day had returned and sat and listened to most of what Blake had to say.
To God be the glory!
After arriving at the coast, I read a couple chapters in the Bible and then starting handing out gospel tracts. Dave, a mate whom I have been evangelising with before was up at the Gold Coast with his wife for a few days and was able to join me today.
After a short amount of time, I was in a witnessing encounter with a Jehovah's Witness. He was an older gentleman, but was not really interested in hearing what the Bible had to say. He asked for me to prove the trinity from the Bible, so I pointed to verses like John 1:1, John 8:58, etc. and he simply responded by saying that he thinks I'm taking all those verses out of context. His argument mainly consisted of: The word 'trinity' is not found in the Bible, therefore the Bible does not teach the trinity -- obviously a fallacious argument.
He also tried to redefine what 'trinity' means, by saying that it means God is three in persons and one in persons at the same time. With the straw man view of the trinity that he presented, he then tried pointing to John 14:28 where Jesus says that the Father is greater than He is. So I corrected him repeatedly about the incorrect definition he gave of the trinity. I said that it actually means: Three in persons, one in being - but he wasn't even willing to concede that point. And so with the correct definition of the trinity, that verse does not at all go against it.
He then resorted to pulling out some Watchtower material and said: "See! It says in this pamphlet that the trinity is not in the Bible". So I responded by saying that the Watchtower organisation is not on the same level as Scripture, in fact it's an organisation that has beliefs so contrary to Scripture that it makes them unable to even be called 'Christian'.
At this point in time, a kind gentleman came over and said, "I heard you preaching on Sunday, I'm a Christian on holidays from Melbourne, here is a cool drink for you." It is really cool how God provides these sorts of encouragements along the way. The Jehovah's Witness then left.
I didn't preach at all today because the council had put about 15 bins grouped together around the spot where I usually preach, for no seemingly-obvious reason. However, I did have a great conversation with a guy named Duncan. He grew up in Sydney and had recently moved to the Gold Coast to study advertising at Bond University. He had been to Church a number of times in the past, however he was very confused about the whole thing, and his mother is into witchcraft. So I was able to witness to him and share the wonderful news about Christ dying on the cross for all our sins if we trust that He has done that for us and repent. I made sure that this fellow understood the gospel properly and after sharing with him the hard costs of following Jesus, he made a profession of faith. I chatted with him for almost an hour, please keep this guy in prayer.
To God be the glory for another great outreach!
I was joined by Rick, Glenda and Chris today at the Gold Coast. It was Chris' first time out on the streets with us, and she was very excited to be part of the team. After praying together, we started handing out tracts to everyone going past us.
I then got up to preach and after not long, there were a number of hecklers. Many were asking how can I believe in God. So I responded by pointing out that creation is absolute proof of the God, for we know that things don't come into being without a cause, and since the universe had a beginning, the universe must have had a cause as well. And that is what we define as God; God is the creator of the universe. A number of them understood this point and eventually agreed. By this time, a crowd of at least 50 people had gathered to listen to the discussion taking place.
I then had one young guy ask a number of questions that he had been pondering for a while, the first one being about how can an all-powerful God let suffering occur. After I responded to that question, he then asked about homosexuality. So I responded by saying that the Bible says any sort of sex outside of marriage is sin, heterosexual or homosexual. He then mentioned that he was a homosexual. So I explained that homosexuality is not an unforgivable sin. Anybody can be forgiven of whatever they have done in life if they acknowledge firstly that they don't deserve Heaven, but instead deserve God's punishment in Hell. Then they trust that Jesus came 2000 years ago, lived a perfect life and died on the cross to pay for all their sins. If they do truly have that faith, they will also repent - that is, hate sin and start turning from it.
At this point in time, a police officer came up and stood in the crowd and listened. I was hoping that he wouldn't stop us preaching. Rick later told me that someone had gone up to the officer while he was standing in the crowd and asked whether we had a permit to preach. But after a few minutes, the officer just walked away without touching us. Praise God! That was an answer to prayer, for as soon as he started walking away, I knew that the other members on the team would have been praying that the police officer wouldn't make us stop. And I found out later they were. God is so good! :)
After about an hour of preaching, I got down from the preaching spot and started chatting with those who had been listening and then had come up to me afterwards. At this point in time, the young guy who had asked a lot of the questions wanted to speak with me but I was in a conversation with some other people. So Glenda had conversation with him for about half an hour and was able to answer a lot of his questions.
After having a bite to eat, we returned to the esplanade and Rick got up to preach. The same young guy returned and asked Rick some more questions that he wanted to know the answers to. Rick was able to answer them and share the gospel with him again. Please pray that God will convert this young man.
To God be the glory for another great day of outreach!
As I made my way down to the Gold Coast, I knew it would be busy at Surfers Paradise. For today was the start of school holidays, so this is when lots of people take the liberty to get away from home and go to the beach. Unfortunately, everyone else who usually takes part on the team was busy today and couldn't make it. Nevertheless, the gospel still needed to go out, and so I went.
So I stocked myself up with gospel tracts and when I arrived, I started handing out the gospel tracts I had. It took me a while to get into the swing of things, but after having a conversation with two young adults who were very proud of their sinful lifestyle and so did not want to trust in Christ, that really showed me the true depravity of man and that they really need the gospel, and so spurred me on to be more bold in sharing the gospel.
I had a chat with a fellow, aged around his thirties, I noticed he was holding a book about crop circles and other mystical things. So I struck up a conversation with him, asking him where he thinks he'll spend eternity. He then proceeded to talk about how he accepts Jesus, but not the Bible. When I asked him how then we know about Jesus, he said that it's simply through mystical means. He thought that we all came from aliens and that the Bible came from them as well. I managed to share the gospel with him, however he was very hard-hearted and said that he didn't need the salvation of Jesus. Please pray for this man as he is cleverly deceived by some sort of paganism.
After talking with some more people and handing out lots of tracts, I got up to preach. I preached about how people love holidays, a time to get away and relax. However, holidays are also a time when many people ignore God and ignore the most important question in life, that is, "Where will they spend eternity?" But you see, more people die on the roads during holiday periods than when people are not on holidays. That is why it is crucial to think where you are going to go after you die, even though you may be holidays. I then proceeded to share about the sinfulness of man, the coming judgment and the great news of the cross.
By this stage, a crowd of about 75 had gathered and there were a number of hecklers. One of the most vocal hecklers was objecting to the exclusivity of Christ; he did not seem to understand how Jesus could say that He is the only way. So I explained the difference between the two different religions in the world (for there are only two), the religion of 'do' and the religion of 'done'. In the category of 'do' is every other religion besides Christianity, for they say you get to Heaven by doing a certain amount of good things. However we know that no just judge could let a criminal go simply because he may have done a certain amount of good things in his life. Thus every other religion's gods must be unjust, yet all say their god is just. However, that is contradiction, therefore meaning that their religions are not true all the time.
I then explained that in the category of 'done' is Christianity alone. For we cannot do anything to get to Heaven. Instead, God provides the way of salvation by the death of Jesus paying for all our sins. So we simply need to trust that He has done that for us to be forgiven. And if someone has that trust in Jesus, they will also repent of their sins.
There were many other questions presented by all those that heckled, but most importantly, the gospel was preached. And so for that, I say: To God be the glory!!
When I arrived at the coast, I saw some people from a local Church doing evangelism at Surfers Paradise, it sure is encouraging to see other people fulfilling the Great Commission as well. Not long after I arrived, Yarran and Daniel showed up, and after praying together we went straight into witnessing.
One of first conversations I had was with an elderly lady, and when I asked whether she thought she would go to Heaven, she responded, "No, I don't want to go to Heaven. I'm going to live on the Earth forever." By her response, I thought that she was most likely a Jehovah's Witness, for they teach Heaven is only for a select 144,000, and the rest of the JW's will simply live on the Earth forever. She was a JW, and had been one for a lot of her life. I asked her, "If you're going to be on the 'renewed' Earth forever and you sin, what will happen to you?" She said that she would be annihilated (as they don't believe in Hell). I asked, "Isn't that going to be a sad existence on the 'renewed' Earth, that you have to worry about not sinning or else you are out of there?" She didn't seem to want to admit that.
I chatted to her about many different topics, ranging from Salvation, Christology, Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, Heaven and Hell. I pointed out references to her like John 8:58 that prove the deity of Christ. I also pointed her to John 2:19-21, showing that Jesus did say he was going to bodily rise from the dead, while the Watchtower denies this. She did not know how to respond to the verses presented and then seemed to want to leave the conversation. So I stressed with her that she needs to really start thinking about these things and start reading what the Scriptures really say, and that if she does, she'll find out that the Watchtower is actually deceiving her.
I then got up to preach for a bit. There was one heckler who stayed for a short time who was trying to argue that he believes in Jesus, but said that we can't trust the Bible. So I asked him, "How then do we know anything about Jesus (except the cross), if not from the Bible?" He didn't seem to have an answer.
Near the end of the outreach, Yarran had a very good conversation with Grace and Eshore, who were both on holidays from Taiwan. They had never heard anything of the Christian message before. They seemed very interested and eager to learn more. So we gave them Bibles and encouraged them to read it and contact us if they have any questions. Please pray for them.
To God be the glory for another great day of evangelism!
It was a warm day today and so it was very busy at Surfers Paradise. Daniel, Rick, Glenda, Amy and I were part of the team today. I got up to preach not long after midday, and within moments there was a loud vocal heckler objecting to what I was saying. He asked the question, "How do you know that Christianity is true?" I responded by giving some reasons about why we can know the resurrection of Jesus really did happen. The fellow argued that you cannot trust anything in the Bible because it is something written down. So I responded, "If you cannot trust anything written down, then you cannot know about pretty much anything that has happened in the past. For example, the main reason why we know that Alexander the Great conquered thousands of years ago is because of the historical documents written down about him. We know that there was a great fire in Rome in 70AD because of the historical documents written about it. In the same way, we can know that Jesus lived, died, and even rose from the dead because of the historical documents written about those events." The guy wasn't interested in listening however, but rather simply to keep repeating his own opinion. But God had found it fit to use this discussion that was going on to draw in a crowd of about 100 people, and there was a decent crowd for the whole hour and quarter that I preached.
When I was explaining the gospel message, so many of the people listening objected when I mentioned that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. That same main vocal heckler that I was discussing with earlier said that I can't say that all other religions are wrong. So I asked him, "Are you saying that it is wrong for me to say that all other religions are wrong?" He said, "Yes!" So I pointed out that his own statement is self-refuting, for he is saying that it is wrong for me to say that someone else is wrong, yet he himself is telling me I am wrong. Basically, he's doing the very thing he's condemning me for doing. That's hypocrisy at its finest.
I explained to the crowd that I can say Jesus is the only way because in no other religion is there a Saviour, that is, one who can pay the penalty for our sins instead of us. For in Christ, God shows mercy towards us, but not by overlooking our sin, but rather by punishing Jesus for our sins and thus by that, He satisfies God's justice.
After stepping down from the preaching box, I was greeted by an Assyrian Christian from Iraq. He was absolutely delighted to hear the Word of God being preached in the open air, that he even shouted us all lunch.
After lunch we continued handing out gospel tracts and witnessing to various people. To God be the glory for another wonderful day of outreach!
It was a smaller team today, consisting of just Jamie and I. Craig Ireland also came down and witnessed for part of the afternoon with us. I did a bit of open air preaching and there were a few hecklers, but they didn't stay long enough to have a meaningful dialogue.
After preaching, a couple guys who I had witnessed to before asked me to come unto the beach to witness to their mate. So I went there and explained the message of sin, the judgment, and the cross to them all. During this discussion with them, two people sitting not far from us seemed to be listening and one interjected that she thought God was not a God that would judge people. She thought she was a good person and definitely deserved Heaven. So I quoted some Scriptures to her about how God is a judge and that we are not good people. But it was obvious that she didn't want to conform her beliefs to the Word of God, and instead had portrayed a god in the image that she wanted him to be. As the group got larger, I was able to share the gospel with the new participants, and since the different groups of people on the beach seemed to be sitting very close to one another, I could see two other people not far from us that were intently listening as well.
The original people I was talking to openly admitted that they would rather keep going in their lifestyle of sin, rather than repent and trust in Christ. They had all sorts of questions about Christianity, and so the conversation with them lasted over an hour. Please pray that God draws them unto Himself.
Many other conversations were had and a lot of gospel tracts went out. To God be the glory for another wonderful day of witnessing!
Once we arrived at Surfers Paradise, Blake and I spent a bit of time reading through 2 Corinthians 5 which talks about how God has entrusted to us this awesome message of reconciliation through Christ, and that He asks us to make this known everywhere. After being encouraged by that we prayed together, and then ran into a fellow brother in the Lord. It was Craig Ireland, and he was faithfully handing out gospel tracts throughout the day, praise the Lord!
I was the first to get up and preach. And immediately as soon as I had said only basically one word, a guy sitting on a seat about 30 metres from me yelled out something about Jesus. So I dialogued with him in the open-air. He was very resistant to anything pertaining to God, but God still saw fit to use him to draw in a crowd to hear the Word being preached. This lead into a number of other hecklers piping in with their questions or objections.
One heckler was a Muslim bloke who was arguing that the Bible did not exist only 700AD. So I responded, "The Dead Sea Scrolls clearly refute that assertion, as they date back to about 300BC and contain every book of the Old Testament bar Esther. Plus we have thousands of manuscript copies of the New Testament, many dating back to prior-700AD. Moreover," I argued, "Your statement is simply not compatible with the Qur'an, as the Qur'an states that the Bible is a prior revelation, yet it came into being at about 650AD. So if your statement is correct, that would mean that the Qur'an came before the Bible, which would contradict what the Qur'an says." At this the gentlemen saw the error, but wasn't open-minded enough to continue the dialogue. I made sure that I preached the gospel over and over again, calling everyone to repent and trust in Christ alone for their salvation.
After preaching for just over an hour, I stepped down and three guys in their twenties came up to me and thanked me for the message. They said that they aren't religious, but the fact that I was willing to get up there and talk about my faith even when objections came was a testament to them that this must be something pretty important. So they said they would now definitely think about the message they heard, and I was also able to have further discussion with them about the gospel. After this, we stopped to have a bit of lunch, and after that Blake got up to preach. He faithfully proclaimed about the coming judgment, sin, the cross, and what a person must do to be saved (repent and trust in Jesus).
During this time, I chatted to various people one2one. One of the conversations I had was with two young ladies. They thought they were good enough to get to Heaven on their own, so I show them from the Scriptures that no one is good enough on their own. They understood that and so I explained the cross and that they must repent and trust in Christ's death alone to be saved. They were very open to the gospel and were very keen to repent and trust in Christ. So I continued to chat with them more about the Christian faith and the cost of discipleship. Please keep these girls in prayer.
Overall, another great day! To God alone be the glory!
Andre was the first one up to preach, and he started by talking about how so much of the news these days is concerned with the Global Financial Crisis, and pointed out that that is something minor in comparison to the Global Death Crisis, with 10 out of 10 people set to die. The fact that 155,000 people die everyday should make us think about our own mortality and think about where we're going to go when we die. He then talked about the judgment to come, sin, and the wonderful news of the cross.
He had a guy who started asking him a number of questions, and after a while, he tagged Josh in. Josh then dealt with his questions and dialogued in the open air with him. During this time a rather large crowd started to gather. Here are some pictures:
Many seeds of the gospel went out today. To God be the glory!
On the team today we had Blake, Jamie, the whole Barnard family, and myself. As Blake and I waited for the others to arrive, we had chat with a guy named Vim. He had just arrived from Europe for a holiday. He thought he was good enough to get into Heaven. So we told him what some of the standards in which God will judge him one day and we realised he didn't deserve Heaven. We then shared the gospel with him, but he said that he would only think about repenting and believing the gospel once he is on his way back to Europe. For he informed us that he had come to Australia to do some sinning. We reminded him that he can't be guaranteed that he'll be still alive by the time he leaves Australia, as we aren't guaranteed another day to live. So we warned him that if he doesn't repent and trust in Christ alone for his salvation, he will end up in Hell. He acknowledged that point, but said he was willing to take the risk.
I then did a bit of open air preaching, and I got into a dialogue with two young guys named, Chris and Ryan. They were Aussies, but didn't know much about Christianity and didn't even have a Bible at home. They too thought they were good enough to get to Heaven. But after asking them whether they had lied, stolen, used God's name in vain, or even lusted after a girl, they had to admit they had and realised that they aren't good people in the sight of God. So I explained the cross and what they must do to be saved, and then I asked them, "Now that you've heard both the bad news (that you deserve Hell because of your sins) and the good news (that you can be forgiven of your sins), the real question is this: When will you repent and trust in Jesus' death alone to save you?" They responded, "Well, now!" So I then concluded my preaching and continued chatting with them. Blake and I made sure they understood the gospel, and they seemed to and they said they now do believe it, even after warning them of the cost of discipleship. We gave them Bibles and prayed for them as well. Please keep both these guys in prayer.
Blake then did some preaching and this lead into some more great one-2-ones. The gospel went out today through voice and through the loads of tracts given out, so to God be the glory!